College Degree Levels and Career Options in 2023

Get Started with Your Associate Degree

Degree Levels and Career Options

Fresh out of high school and considering college? A College Associate Degree could be a great start for you!

An Associate Degree is an academic program offered as an undergraduate degree in lieu of a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum was developed to provide prospective students like you the opportunity to complete a higher level education for purposes of securing employment. Associate degrees give students basic technical skills and academic knowledge to ease their way into the workforce.

Top-paying jobs are now scarce and demand a richer educational background as companies have become more reluctant to hire unskilled and inexperienced individuals. With an associate’s degree tucked in your belt, you gain an employment advantage. Similarly, it is a perfect stepping stone to furthering your education if you choose to.

Associate Degrees were originally offered in the United Kingdom. The United States education system quickly followed suit. Today, it is widely popular among high school graduates in the US and parts of Canada. Aside from a shorter time to complete the degree, it can jump-start your way to a high-paying source of employment.

A full-time student can complete an associate’s degree in as little as two years. That’s why the associate degree is often called the “two-year degree.” However, the length of time needed to complete the degree varies according to the type of field of study you choose.

Most accredited online schools offer associate degrees, allowing for a more accessible and convenient way to study. You can easily take advantage of the distance learning programs from many online schools or engage in on-campus education. Either way, you will surely gain a new set of transferable skills that will help you in your personal and professional life.


Do You Have Two More Years In You? Strive For That Bachelor’s Degree!

Degree Levels and Career Options

Eyeing that corner office with a great view of the city? Bachelor’s degrees can land you that big promotion. The corporate world is very competitive, and even if you have secured a way inside, not having a college diploma can stand between you and advancement opportunities in your career. Indeed, college education has become increasingly important.

A Bachelor’s or Baccalaureate Degree is an undergraduate degree awarded by a college or university upon successful completion of a course. It usually takes a minimum of four years and a maximum of seven years, depending on the course of choice and curriculum.

The coursework for a bachelor’s degree is comprised of general studies and classes specific to the course of choice. Courses vary depending on the concentration. It may be under the Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

The BS degree is a specific concentration in the sciences and research, usually taken as a pre-med. A BA degree, on the other hand, has an inclination toward the liberal arts, philosophy, social science, and sociology. Lastly, the BFA program is a degree for those gifted in the arts.

To this day, a bachelor’s degree is still the standard for a thriving professional career. And it goes without saying that it is the ultimate ticket to a fulfilling professional life. Most importantly, it is the first step to attaining a degree in law or medicine. You need a bachelor’s degree to step up to a master’s program.


Go Ahead! Take the Extra Step and Dive Into Your Master’s Degree!

Degree Levels and Career Options

As opposed to an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree does not only prepare you to be a part of the labor force. It prepares you to be a holistic individual, ready to take on the world! A baccalaureate diploma will guide you in chasing that management post.

Done with your bachelor’s degree and still want more? Consider earning a Master’s Degree. Managerial positions will be an easy feat for you to take on if you have one.

A Master’s Degree (MA) is a postgraduate degree taken after the completion of an undergraduate degree. It is the first level of graduate study, which typically lasts a year to two years of study. Full-time graduate students can finish a Master’s degree in a year and one-half. Part-time Master’s programs, on the other hand, can last up to four years. Most colleges or universities offering postgraduate degrees require the completion of 35-54 semester credits.

It is important that you know what program you need to take to further your professional career. MA is created for more targeted academic goals, with a single focus in mind. A specialty area enables graduate students to focus on a niche, which in turn, ensures competence.

Highly competent individuals are very in demand. Corporations prefer those who have postgraduate degrees to hold managerial and supervisory positions. These positions require the high fidelity and competence expected of a postgraduate degree holder.

Consequently, this trend pushes young professionals to go back to school and earn a master’s degree. A projected increase in the number of master’s degree holders is consistent till the year 2026, with official data also revealing that Master’s degree holders enjoy a distinctive edge as they pursue their careers.


Achieve Your Career High with a Doctorate Degree

Degree Levels and Career Options

If part of your professional dream is to belong to this category of eager, young professionals, why not consider getting a master’s degree?

After earning a Master’s Degree, you might come to the realization that you still have the eagerness to learn more and dig deeper into your field of specialization. What do you do about it? What could possibly be next for you? We have the answer for you!

A Doctorate Degree is the highest educational attainment one can accomplish. It is considered the pinnacle and a symbol of the most learned individual. It is the most advanced degree that you can possibly earn. What comes with it is a sign that you have completely mastered a specific area or field of study, or profession.

Earning a doctorate degree is, in all honesty, a highly demanding educational journey. It requires long nights of study and intense research. In order to complete a doctorate degree, you need to comply with the requirements set by the college or university you’re enrolled in. Generally, a dissertation is required for graduation. This involves conducting research and utilizing analytic tools to offer relevant contributions in your chosen field.

All that schooling is worth it. Doctorate degree holders are sought after by big firms. Consultancy is the most prolific career choice. Some choose to stay in the academe, aiming to provide assistance to future doctorate students. Society dictates that who have successfully earned a doctorate degree are deemed “important people” in their professional field. Most importantly, it is a personal success that no one can discredit or dismiss.


Career-Specific Degree Programs

Law

Degree Levels and Career Options

Earning a doctorate degree is no easy feat. You will need to pull more all-nighters than ever and be sure to get that pot of coffee ready for your most unholy hours of reading and studying. But hey, if so many have already done it, so can you!

There is no denying that lawyers are highly regarded in society. Having studied the law, they are perceived to be of high ethical and moral stature. No wonder a law degree remains to be among the most sought-after courses at university.

The Law Degree is a respected area of study focusing on law or legal studies. A bachelor’s degree is the first step to enrolling in law school. It is challenging and often stressful. However, a law degree is sure to launch you into a thriving career in the legal sector or in any area of choice. The first year of law school starts with compulsory law courses. Lectures vary in style as well.

Never expect “boring” when you are enrolled in law school. You are exposed to the real world, engaging you in moot court competitions. This will test your knowledge of the law and your power of articulation. Community involvement is instilled in all law students. Students are exposed to community legal aid programs where they can impart their legal know-how to various sectors.

There are different types of law degrees depending on where you choose to study. Bachelor Laws or LLB is the most commonly offered in many countries. Completion of an LLB qualifies you to take the Bar. Passing the Bar is a triumph in and of itself. But first, you will need to tackle criminal law, civil law, labor law, commercial law, and political law to prepare you for the ultimate test.

In some countries, the Bar is regarded as the most difficult licensure exam. It goes without saying that the demand of the legal profession is not for the faint of hearts. You’ll need rigor and determination to hurdle the challenges ahead.

Also, See:

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Engineering

Degree Levels and Career Options

An engineering degree is largely a technical course. Offered at the undergraduate level, it is awarded after completion of a four-year program. It is highly focused on practical skills, which are a valued asset in various industrial and corporate sectors. An engineering degree is a competitive field of study.

Students of engineering thrive in logical thinking and critical problem-solving. If you’re good with numbers, engineering degrees may be best for you.

Generally, engineering is a broad subject. Various disciplines are offered, including chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. Each is specifically focused on the field, so there is no overlap, especially in employment opportunities.

  • In your first year, you’ll face an array of mathematics subjects. This is where you’ll learn computation in the most basic form, experimentation, engineering design, and many more.
  • In your second year, you will be more focused on module completion as you tackle more complex computations and experimentation. It is in this stage of study that computer-based modeling is introduced.
  • The third year gives students a choice to further their studies abroad or engage in internships. During the last year, management has been incorporated into the course load, as well as advanced engineering courses. An individual project is required for you to graduate and earn an engineering degree.

Engineering is a specialized degree vital to developing solutions to many social and economic problems. It’s little wonder that engineering graduates are in highly in-demand. Talented and exceptional engineers easily land a job with new engineering graduates in the US earning a 5-digit salary per year.

Also, See:

Top Online Chemical Engineering Bachelor Degrees

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Nursing

Degree Levels and Career Options

Being a medical professional is a noble profession. They are the first responders in disasters and emergencies. Saving lives is their primary goal. Medical professionals devote their lives to ensuring that the life of the person under their care is taken care of. Their dedication is unparalleled and, therefore, worthy of all recognition.

Nurses are especially deserving of this recognition. They tirelessly work their shifts to the point that it becomes detrimental to their own health! They care for their patients without regard for their societal status. As with everyone in the medical profession, they are trained to treat everyone equally.

A Nursing Degree remains to be highly sought after in the country, just after the healthcare profession. Because nurses comprise the largest component of the hospital staff, enrollment in the degree is predicted to increase steadily in the next ten years. Employment is not limited to hospitals.

There is high demand for nurses in clinics, home care facilities, public health institutions, and even asylums. Since they are trained in direct patient care, a nursing degree graduate is adaptable and always ready to engage.

Making a sound and calculated decision is vital to securing a successful academic life and a nursing career. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the most preferred nursing degree. It is a four-year degree program, which requires serious commitment. BSN graduates are equipped with the practical skills needed and required by a medical professional.

Whether you choose to BSN or any other nursing degree on our list, the healthcare system needs you.

Also, See:

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Business

Degree Levels and Career Options

Whether students choose a standard campus program or an online business degree, this degree is among the most flexible and generally applicable types of credentials accessible. Because it applies to practically every business and commerce sector, earning a diploma in this field can help students advance their careers.

A business degree provides students with the information and abilities employers seek to apply to various jobs and sectors. Students will put their degrees to work, gain experience, and even combine their passions in multiple sectors.

These fields need people who understand business at its core. The student’s education will blend academic theory and practical skill development to equip them for a smooth transition into the workforce if they choose a business school with ACBSP certification. There are several prospects for professional development as the business continues to expand on a worldwide scale.

All business degrees will demand students to work hard and study, but some will require them to devote more time to mastering challenging concepts and putting them into practice. Some majors, on the other hand, demand more rote memory than actual application.

The most severe problem with a business degree is decision fatigue, which occurs when students make too many judgments in a short time. A business school teaches students concepts like SWOT analysis, which helps them make better, more informed judgments.

Still, it does not educate them on how to handle themselves when faced with dozens to hundreds of minor but critical decisions every day. The delegation, relaxation techniques, and decision-making management are all tools that can help students stay energized.

Also, See:

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Education

Degree Levels and Career Options

Education is one of the essential issues in today’s world. It investigates the teaching process as well as education as a whole. A master’s degree in education entails extensive research into all facets of education.

Masters in Education programs, like any other developed study or science, keep up with current information and utilize every new piece to make the art of teaching better and more effective. Creative Pedagogy, Educational Philosophy and Psychology, Critical Pedagogy, and Concept Learning or Learning Theory are topics students can study for a Master’s in Education degree.

These examples demonstrate education and pedagogy for what this research is about: perfecting the educational process for subjects and methods in schools and universities to suit the needs of a rapidly changing and developing world.

Sharing knowledge with others, making the learning process entertaining and effective, and improving the current educational system are tasks students will learn to do with a degree in education.

A wide range of degrees is available that can suit your professional aspirations, whether you want to be a principal, college administrator, teacher, or tutor. You must first obtain a state license and pass a competency test to teach in a public school.

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Religious and Theology

Degree Levels and Career Options

Theology and religious studies are fascinating, varied, and versatile programs. For instance, a physics degree, a theological or theology degree is significantly more customizable. While religious and theology degrees cover many of the same topics, they are usually tailored to individual interests and ambitions.

Individuals interested in philosophy, the mores and tenets of humanity and its diverse belief systems, and Christian ministry should pursue a degree in Religious Studies. The numerous advantages of this degree allow graduates to join the workforce with a diverse set of abilities and a thorough understanding of their field.

Degrees in religion and theology are available at all levels of education, with different job requirements based on the degree level and subject of concentration. Although you can be accepted to graduate programs with any undergraduate major, it would be best to get a bachelor’s degree in theology if you are an undergraduate student seeking to pursue a graduate degree in theology.

Furthermore, a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies is also best for those who have questions about the existence of humanity, God, and the many similarities and differences among the world’s religions.

Also, See:

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Economics

Degree Levels and Career Options

Economics is an enthralling subject. It’s constantly changing as local and global markets alter and grow as new technologies arrive. Commerce goes on as it always has, but the methods individuals purchase and sell are constantly changing. Even spending patterns have changed dramatically during the last few decades.

Big data and digital growth are already critical to any business that wants to survive in the competitive capitalist sector in today’s market. Employees have the expertise to sift massive amounts of data and grasp both companies and government entities need the broader trends concealed in thousands or millions of transactions each day.

It’s one of the most general but focused degrees accessible, but don’t underestimate its worth. With economist employment expected to rise over the next ten years and Big Data becoming increasingly important in everyday business, a degree in economics is an ideal alternative for individuals with the temperament and interest in the field.

Also, See:

Best Online Associate in Commerce

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Associate Degree vs. Bachelor’s Degree

Categorically speaking, both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are tertiary in nature since they are taken after you complete your secondary education. Making an excellent choice boils down to what you believe will greatly influence your future. After all, the depth of education, plus the dedication and time you need to accomplish the program, will rely on your decision. 

The Differences Between an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree

The key differences between both degrees include the program length, program focus, program cost, earning potential, and career opportunities. 

Program Length

This is the most notable difference between these degrees. For full-time students, you can complete your associate’s degree in two years, while it takes four years for a bachelor’s degree program. These programs even take longer for those who are enrolled part-time. Today, many colleges offer flexible schedules, including online classes or night and weekend sessions, to accommodate working students, parents, professionals, and other students who can’t attend regular classes during the day.

Program Focus

Associate degree programs have two types, each with a different focus.

  • General studies that do not focus on a specific job-declared major or set of skills. This is a good option if you wish to earn college credits that you can later apply to a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Specialized vocational or technical coursework. It is ideal if you aim to learn a specific set of skills or you want to train for a particular job title. 

Bachelor’s degree programs, on the other hand, focus on a specific topic of study or major. You will complete a core curriculum or general education courses in a variety of fields (like language, fine arts, history, science, language arts, and many more), as well as elective and mandatory courses relevant to your program major. 

Earning Potential

An associate degree holder earns less than those who have a bachelor’s degree. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the median weekly earnings of someone with a four-year degree are $1,334, which equates to roughly $69,400 annually. Those with an associate degree have a median earning of $963, or just about $50,000, every year. 

Program Cost

The fee and tuition widely vary from one college to another, although earning an associate degree is less costly than obtaining a bachelor’s program. But because of the earning potential of having a bachelor’s degree, along with the many job opportunities you get once you earn your bachelor’s, the program cost is not a deterrent if you want to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Career Paths

A part of your decision about either earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is what your plans are after you complete the program. In an associate degree program, the credits you earn are usually applied to a bachelor’s degree program. While earning an associate degree is enough to land an entry-level position, take note that promotions may require additional education. As with a bachelor’s degree, this is required if you plan to continue your education and earn a master’s, doctorate, and other professional degrees. 


Master’s Degree vs. Doctorate Degree 

The demand for either master’s degree or a doctorate is very high. But how will you know which program is suitable for you? Does your industry require one degree or another? 

The Difference in Coursework and Content Between the Master’s and Doctorate Degrees

Both postgraduate educational programs have different focuses. A master’s degree focuses more on deepening your career-oriented skills and knowledge. A doctorate, on the other hand, is more research-based and is designed to hone your critical research and writing, and analytical skills to fill industry knowledge gaps. 

Types of Courses in a Master’s Program

  1. Core Courses: These are required to complete a master’s degree and are generally considered important knowledge to further your industry expertise. 
  2. Electives: These are selected courses allowing you to further specialize your degree and to widen your experience in related subject areas.
  3. Capstone Course (Thesis): The capstone course is simply the thesis that culminates in your master’s degree. This involves doing research and presenting all your findings.

Distinct Parts of a Doctorate Program

  1. Coursework: These are the advanced courses needed to pass a comprehensive exam.
  2. Research Core: This covers research, writing, and analytical skills in preparation for your dissertation.
  3. Comprehensive Exam: This exam will test your level of understanding of the major concepts you learned in your coursework. You need to pass this exam to be eligible for the dissertation.
  4. Dissertation: You will be working with a dissertation committee to identify your specific research topic. You will complete in-depth analysis, research, and writing before defending your research to the dissertation committee. 

Finding a Mentor

If there is someone you truly admire, make him/her your mentor. Even if they can only spare a few minutes of their time with you over coffee, knowing that there are people who look out for you will push you to organize your time so you will look forward to new things to share when you meet again. 

Reading in Graduate Programs

College courses entail A LOT of reading! This means getting your hands on every research paper, textbook, and news clipping. The best part is that you can also do all these for free: no tuition fees and no signing up for formal programs. Head to your local municipal library and borrow the books you need. Or better yet, search online. 

Taking advantage of the Internet

From being a virtual PA to a freelance writer to becoming an influencer in social media, many people today are earning large chunks of money from working online—no unique skills needed and no college degrees required. Most employers also offer real-life or online group training days, allowing you to meet other online colleagues. 


Additional Resources:

Your Ticket To That Dream Job: Top-Paying Online Degrees

Most Challenging Degrees For Overachievers

Best College Degrees That Work Well Together

Online Degrees and Programs That Are In-demand